YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many thought it would never happen: college athletes getting paid for their name, image and likeness through third-party endorsement money.
The NCAA announced Wednesday it will support the rule change to take effect as early as next year.
For over 100 years, the NCAA has operated as an amateur institution with no compensation for athletes outside of scholarship money. But now, the “Fair Pay to Play Act” is changing things forever.
“The foundation of how we’ve been functioning, this is completely different,” said Emily Wollet, YSU Associate Athletic Director. “I mean, this is shattering.”
Wollet is a 2004 Canfield graduate, who went on to compete in track at YSU. She then interned for the NCAA in Indianapolis before eventually getting the job back at her alma mater.
Wollet admits she did not see the day coming where college athletes would get paid for their likeness.
“The train is already going so it’s something that legislatively some states have to do,” said Wollet. “Our hands are kind of tied, the momentum is already going.”
Wollet said YSU is already working alongside their conferences, the Horizon League and Missouri Valley Football Conference, to review all the information. More concrete answers will come at a meeting on June 17th, with changes taking effect as early as January 2021.
“Regardless of whatever they determine and the parameters that they set, the institutions and conferences will have to take a step back and say, ‘this is how we’re going to manage this and educate our students on what they can and cannot do,'” said Wollet. “Because if they do something that they’re not permitted, then obviously that affects their eligibility.”
Wollet said there will be a “checks and balances” type of process to monitor that student income, similar to student employment.
The bottom line is that there will be challenges, but college athletes, even at smaller Division 1 schools like YSU, will certainly benefit from these changes.
“I think their exposure through social media is greater,” said Wollet. “There’s a lot more opportunity there for students to go out on their own and kind of create their brand. It’s just trying to figure out what that looks like once it’s voted and approved.”